Richard Craig StevensSpecialist Four
C CO, 4TH BN, 9TH INF RGT, 25 INF DIV
Army of the United States
24 June 1948 - 23 November 1968
Panel 38W Line 047
The database page for Richard Craig Stevens
Richard Craig Stevens, better known as Craig at home and Baby Beef in country, was killed in combat on 23 November 1968 in Go Dau Ha, South Vietnam. For seven months he had been a member of Co. C of the 4/9 Manchus who were based out of Cu Chi. On this particular day the men of Charli e Company ("Suicide Charlie", they called them, due to the high number of casualties they incurred; i. e. 49 men lost in a single battle on Mar 2 of 68, for whom most of these men were replacements) left Fire Support Base Wood in Trang Bang. They were inserted into an area where contact had been made the day before where they were to establish a blocking position. Units of the ARVN would then sweep an area towards them and attempt to force an engagement with the enemy. Before long they were in fact taking fire. It was at first assumed that they were dealing with a couple of snipers until they got to within 30-40 yards from the woodline when the enemy opened up with all of its firepower. A fierce firefight ensued and dangerously close artillery fire was eventually necessary to stop the advancement of what they eventually learned was a full, reinforced, company sized unit of North Vietnamese regulars. The Manchus were eventually able to fall back but not before 13 were killed and 22 wounded.
On a personal note, Craig was the third born of eleven children. He was a son to Richard and Margaret and a brother to Karen, Kris, Kathie, Thom, Laura, Libby, Shawn, Jeff, Lisa and Maura, who have since given him 19 nieces and nephews and 10 great nieces and nephews. At the Manchu website's memorial pages under Craig's name there is a picture of Craig, the shy smile of a young man with a machine gun slung over his shoulder, and a beautiful poem written by my grandfather to his son, a perfect tribute to the boy he was and the soldier he became. We will always remember his soft-spoken, kind ways ... we will also remember his bravery and sacrifice. We hope you will too.
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind."
The Boys of Panel 38 W
23 November 68
Richard Craig Stevens
David Ivan Briggs
It is only appropriate to note that while these thirteen men who died together on the 23rd are all found on Panel 38 W, the total number of 4/9 Manchu brothers who share Panel 38 W is in fact 38 ... 24 from Alpha company died 4 days later on Thanksgiving and one other on the 29th ... bless them all.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009